Hearkening back to design school…

My marketing maven gives a monthly marketing forum here in Fort Collins – a 2-hour marketing fest that usually draws 12-20 local businesspeople.

Back in August she asked me to present at the one in October. It’s tomorrow.

I’m ready as far as the presentation goes – I’ve got my Powerpoint together, it’s cohesive and makes sense – but I haven’t given a presentation like this in a long while. I might be nervous and I hope I don’t talk too fast.

I’m trying to get in the same mindset of the final projects critique in design school at NC State. In that particular class, the semester project was the development of a cheetah habitat for the NC Zoo. I was one of only a few undergrads in the class and I really worked my tail off putting together an informed, creative and well-executed plan.

I saw my fellow students get reamed by the critiquers, a panel of guests of high status in the local landscape architectural world. One after the other they sat down in silence after the panel rather pointedly tore their work apart. I was the second or third from last to go.

And I went. I left my big stack of index cards on the floor. I presented, I explained, I illustrated my points and reinforced my ideas with a good solid design. Very calmly. And to my surprise I did not get reamed – I got praised. I did really, really well and you can guess how excessively happy I was when I went back and sat down with my index cards.

So I’m thinking tomorrow will be like that. I know the material because it’s what I do every day. I have useful information to share, 13 people are paying to hear me do just that and it’ll be my room for about two hours. But in this case, I’m sort of the critiquer and they are, for the most part, students. It should be interesting. And I don’t need index cards this time, either.

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